Five New State Board of Education Members Take Office in January

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The Ohio Board of Education will get six new members in 2017.    The state board has 19 members, 8 of whom are appointed by the governor.    The others are elected to represent one of 11 districts in Ohio. 

Of the new members,  some have as many as 40 years of experience in education, while others have no experience in the field.

Today, State Impact Ohio’s Mark Urycki has the first of two reports on the new members.

This year, 3 State Board of Education members left office due to term limits, one chose not to run for reelection, and one was defeated.  One other member resigned mid-term and his replacement will be chosen by Governor John Kasich. 

Today we’ll hear from two new elected members.

Antoinette Miranda of Columbus has 35 years in the field -- 6 as a school psychologist and the last 28 as a Professor of School Psychology at Ohio State.  

Dr. Miranda supports educating the whole child, meaning teachers need to deal with the emotional or cultural issues that students bring to school.

“We know that poor kids come with poor literacy. We’ve known that for years and yet most schools don’t have interventions ready and in place to tackle those issues as soon as a kid comes into Kindergarten. Now some of it is about money, but I think it’s also about having that initiative to look at what are the evidence-based practices.”  

Dr. Antoinette Miranda is chair of the William H. and Laceryjette V. Casto Professorship in Interprofessional Education at Ohio State

While Miranda arrives with a lot of ideas, the new member from District 5, Lisa Woods of Medina, says she has a lot to learn.  Woods defeated incumbent Roslyn Painter-Goffi, a former teacher and librarian with 40 years’ experience.

Woods has no professional background in education and says she needs to look beyond her mostly suburban district.

“What I’m learning now, like in the Appalachians, wow are they faced with something that District 5 doesn’t quite see.  The poverty and the drugs, wow, how do you, how does a school combat that?  I mean really, it would be great if the teachers could just teach.”   

Woods and her late husband started a conservative citizens group in Medina County. She calls it a Tea Party group before the Tea Party.  Her biggest concern for schools in Ohio is the threat of terrorist attack. Woods would like to see teachers trained in a program called Tactical Combat Casualty Care.

“Imagine if there’s an active shooter that’s gone from one room, and you may have 5 children bleeding, and is now is going on to other parts of the school and a teacher or faculty is in that room and there are kids bleeding, they may only have minutes.” 

One major topic for Ohio’s Department of Education is charter schools.  Both Woods and Miranda sent their children to public schools and question Ohio’s system of privately managed charters receiving local levy money. 

“It does make me question, absolutely, and maybe the formula for how that money is given and used, you know, could change.” 

Miranda says only about a quarter of charter schools do better than public schools. 

“ I feel like we’re throwing away money to experiments that have not proven successful.  I think those schools that are very successful, we should applaud them, and we have a number of them in Central Ohio.  But we have way more that are failing the kids in Central Ohio.” 

The growth of standardized tests in Ohio concerns both Miranda and Woods. 

 “We need to teach our children to learn, to love learning, and not teach to a test,” says Woods. 

And they question evaluating teachers by the test scores of their students.  Professor Miranda wonders whether high test scores will follow the highly rated teachers.

“My question was: if you put them in a poor school would they come out the same.  You would hope they would but I’m not sure.  And so, are you measuring what the teacher can do or are you measuring the kids they’re teaching?” 

Antoinette Miranda and Lisa Woods begin their 4 year terms on the State School Board January first.        

Part2: Three other new members.

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